Workplace discrimination still largely underreported
Only a fraction of gay and lesbian people who suffer harassment and discrimination in the workplace report their experiences to authorities.
A Central Queensland University study by Gladstone’s Nathan Barrett looking at the discrimination of Queenslanders who self-identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or intersex (GLBTI) in the workplace, found that despite more GLBT people being open about their sexuality at work, only 1 per cent of respondents reported incidences of discrimination to the Anti-Discrimination Commission of Queensland.
“What I found was that the rate of disclosure of sexual identity to fellow workers was relatively high compared with previous research,” Barrett told Gay News Network.
He added that “jokes, ridicule, and negative remarks were the most common types of discrimination faced by these employees in Queensland, and only 1 per cent reported the events to the Anti-Discrimination Commission of Queensland”.
The study found that discrimination was more likely to be reported to a supervisor or union delegate. However, evidence suggests that such reports did not reduce the likelihood of being a further victim of discrimination.
“The study shows that training was the most utilised tool used by organisations where discrimination was reported, [but] this had little effect on repeated discrimination in the workplace.
“However, organisations that had clear anti-discrimination policies in place had a positive effect on workplace relationships.”
Barrett hopes the study’s findings will support the implementation of workplace policies and procedures in Queensland.
“I see that this study has an important role to play to determine the prominence of discrimination in the workplace and also to steer future workplace legislation.”